Posts Tagged ‘coleslaw’

Pulled Pork and Winnipeg

November 7, 2010

I’m sitting in a hotel room in Winnipeg, a little confused about what time it actually is. With the extra hour of sleep and change to Central Standard Time, I’m just feeling a bit off. With an early morning Breakfast Television segment, I also should probably be sleeping. I’ll suffer the consequences for my actions tomorrow at 5am.

I’m also here watching reality TV and eating a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Pretty low, I know. Please don’t judge me.

I’m typically the type who loves taking the opportunity to venture around new cities, test out the local grub, but it’s dark and deserted out there. At no disrespect to the city (I’m sure that you are lovely), I’m going to sit this one out.  

As I sit here shamefully stuffing my face with junk, I thought I’d at least try and do something productive and put up a post. This one’s pulled pork, another Sunday night favourite in our house. Pulled pork is an incredibly easy recipe, just needs many hours to cook down. Here’s how it goes…

Spice Rub

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp oregano

Trim off all the extra fat from a pork shoulder (best cut for this). I actually like to trim as much as possible. Mix all these ingredients together and rub them all over the trimmed meat. If possible, refrigerate with the rub on for a few hours, or overnight.

Cover the bottom of a large frying pan with a thin layer of oil and heat on high. Sear the meat on all sides so that the shoulder is a golden brown (even a bit black) all around. Place in a slow cooker or in a 325 degree oven for an hour to continue building a crust.  

After an hour, add 2 cups of beef broth and 1 1/2 cups of your favourite BBQ sauce and cover the Pork Shoulder with foil. Let cook for another 3 hours. After 3 hours, the meat should start to fall apart at the touch of a fork. I like to cook it for another 1-2 hours after this, for ultimate “pulledness”.

Don’t forget to top your sandwich with some homemade creamy coleslaw.

Sure beats a bag of chips…


The Garden is Back

September 26, 2010

I don’t even know how long it’s been since my last post, but I am happy to announce that I am ready to pick up where I left off.

The past few months have been incredibly difficult. After a 15 year battle with brain cancer, I lost my father on August 31, 2010. My dad had been in and out of the hospital since February, when we learned that his cancer was back. He underwent lengthy treatments, physiotherapy and attempts at rehabilitation. His last few months were spent in palliative care at Bridgepoint Health. Being just a few minutes away, my visits were very frequent.  It gave me so much joy bringing him home-cooked food, his favourite chocolate and pictures that made him smile. He was the most courageous, giving, thoughtful and sincere person I have ever known. His strength and passion for life, no matter how limited, is something that I will never forget. There isn’t one day that has gone by that I don’t think about him. I really miss him, but know that he is finally free. Thank you to all of my beautiful friends and family for being so supportive.

Cooking has always been my go-to hobby of choice. It helps me relax, keeps me busy and is my way of being creative. I owe much of my passion for food to my dad. He cooked a lot and was pretty good at it. He didn’t complain when I started taking over the family kitchen. He did, however, give me hard time about keeping it clean. He was also a great dishwasher.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Sunday is my favourite day to cook and today was no exception. I scored an incredible deal on a pork loin big enough to feed a party of 12 for less than ten bucks at the grocery store…perfect for braised tacos. We’re huge fans of Chipotles and I think I did a pretty darn good job replicating their pork carnitas. Braising meat is incredibly simple, you just need time. That’s why doing it on a Sunday is perfect! We’ll also have enough leftovers for lunch (probably until Friday).

Rub Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp chili
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper

Mix all of these spices up in a bowl and rub it into the pork. I like to cut the pork into smaller chunks to speed up the cooking process a bit. This also creates more surface area for the rub. I also cut off much as much excess fat as I can. A little is ok, but I don’t like my braised meat too fatty. This is also a great technique to use with pork shoulder.

For extra flavor, slit the pork in various locations and stuff these slits with chopped garlic and ginger (2 cloves garlic and 1 tbsp ginger is plenty).

Place the coated pieces of meat in a casserole dish and cook uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes (do not add any liquid or anything else to the casserole during this step). This initial cooking time creates a bit of a crust on the pork before the braising step, as well as a ton of extra flavour.

After 45 minutes, add water to the casserole to fill the dish about 1/3 of the way to the top. I like to add a little bit of beef OR chicken soup base to the water for extra flavour, but this isn’t necessary. Cover the casserole with foil and cook in a 325 oven for 3 hours.

After 3 hours, the meat should fall apart at the touch. Pull it all apart using two forks and top your taco the way you like it! Today, I made coleslaw for extra crunch.

Here’s one of my favourite pictures of my dad and I, summer camping as a kid

Mac and Cheese

January 1, 2010

Happy New Year y`all!

What better way to start 2010 than some southern home cooking. Mac and Cheese pretty much combines many of my great loves all in one single dish. Cheese, pasta, butter and some more cheese. How can you go wrong with that?

I will also argue that Mac and Cheese does not have to be a high calorie, fat drenched dish. I used Skim Milk in place of cream and limited the amount of butter. The end result is still heaven on a plate.

I am also the proud new owner of some fancy new dishes and a 12 megapixel camera. Plating is just going to keep getting better. Thanks Santa(s)!

Mac and Cheese (to feed a crowd…6-8 people)

  • 1 litre skim milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ of an onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed but kept whole
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp light cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • Half a bag of elbow macaroni (about 500 grams)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Breadcrumb Topping:

  • 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs
  • 1-2 tbsp butter, melted

Start by lightly sautéing the roughly chopped onion and garlic in a little bit of butter or oil. Once soft (about 2 minutes), add in the milk, bay leaves, cream cheese, sour cream, mustard, salt and pepper. Simmer the milk mixture on medium low for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Try not to let the milk boil, a gentle simmer to infuse all the ingredients is what works best.

Cook elbow macaroni until al dente in salted water, drain and set aside. Grease a baking dish and heat oven to 425 degrees.

Pour milk mixture through a strainer to get the onion, bay leaves, etc. out and then pour back into the pot. Combine the butter and flour with a fork (butter needs to be room temperature) and then add into the milk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Gently cook until the sauce thickens, add the shredded cheddar cheese. Toss in the macaroni and then pour into the baking dish.

Melt the butter for the topping and mix together with the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on top of the macaroni and bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes).

I served the Mac and Cheese with some homemade creamy coleslaw. Delish!